Joey Porter should aid Jones' development

PITTSBURGH -- General manager Kevin Colbert confirmed what had been fairly obvious when the Pittsburgh Steelers hired Joey Porter as a defensive assistant this week.

Porter will work closely with Jarvis Jones, whose development is critical to a defense that has to get more from its edge pass-rushers in 2014.

“Joey can bring a certain element of pass-rush expertise,” Colbert said of Porter, who ranks fifth on the Steelers all-time sacks list with 60. “The exciting thing is he and Jarvis are very similar statures, so I think there will be some things he’ll be able to share with Jarvis that will help Jarvis be a better player.”

The Steelers managed just 34 sacks last season -- only five teams had fewer quarterback takedowns -- with Jones recording just one despite starting eight games and playing 612 snaps.

The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Jones has to get stronger during the offseason and develop a repertoire of pass-rushing moves, and Porter can certainly help with the latter.

The Steelers aren’t necessarily looking for Porter to accelerate Jones’ development, but to help him make the progress that the team expects out of its first-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

“We’re looking for a lot of improvement from Jarvis as a second-year player, as we do any player in this defense,” Colbert said. “If a player’s going to be a good player, there’s usually a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2, and we’re hoping that’s the case.”

Porter spent last season as an undergraduate assistant coach as Colorado State, his alma mater, and Colbert said the Steelers were impressed with the job he did there. They talked with Porter at the Senior Bowl in late January, and that set into motion the return of Porter, who played with the kind of swagger and attitude the Steelers are counting on him to bring to his new role with the team.

“It was exciting for the organization,” Colbert said of the Porter hiring, “because of who Joey Porter was and who he still is.”